Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 20th - May 27th - things come to life.

No matter how old and cynical I get, I'll never stop being amazed at the power of seeds. It's simply amazing to me that you have that little hard capsule that does nothing until you add a bit of light and some water and voila - life! My peat pot experiment worked out pretty well with 100% results from the packaged seeds and only 9 duds out of a total of 51 overall. They took about 10 days to come up. The Cosmos and Zinnias, hand seeded in the garden were much faster, appearing in about 5 days.

One thing we've done over the past year is develop a composting set up. Really simple, just two bins hemmed in with some chicken wire and t-posts. The "seed" of the project was some grimy stuff that had built up and rotted along the north facing parapets on our roof. Along with 25 bags of dried leaves. Over the course of the fall and winter we added a lot of household garbage - coffee grinds, fruit and vegetable remains, more leaves and a lot of water. Of all the stuff recommended by the composting geniuses on the web, only paper goods turned out to be a bust. Coffee filters still go in simply because they're easy to handle, but tissues, paper towels and the like don't. They simply don't break down very well. The most entertaining item was "100% compostable" plastic cups from our favorite coffee shop. They don't break down at all.

As with most things, we were hardly diligent about maintaining the piles unless you feel that dragging buckets of ice from the horse tanks and dumping them in the bins on the sub-zero mornings meets that criterion. In any event, without much technological intervention we ended up with 5 wheelbarrow loads of the finest black soil you can imagine. Now it's time to move the stage one pile into the stage two bin and start again with the leaves.

We finished up all but one section of the garden this week, getting a 4 really nice Basil plants in along with the last of the marigolds. The four orphan sunflowers that came up in the walkways and that I had roughly transplanted actually took hold and made a good case for survival. I wasn't sure they were going to make it after showing severe shock. But a couple of days with shade canopy turned them around and now they look great.

Fruit actually started to appear on some of the tomato plants and on one of the eggplant plants (is that right?)  which was a bit of a surprise. You worry about when the plants start producing when they're only been in the ground a week, and these buds almost certainly came with the plant from the store. But it's still nice to see because like you, I am really sick of eating tasteless hot house tomatoes. I had a couple off of our pal Chidi's plants when we were in Tucson last week and while you think those red things in your February Caprise  are tomatoes, I assure you that they are not. One taste of a home grown makes you long for July and August.
With the last of the wire up and irrigation lay out complete,  we now wait to transplant the 41 peat pot sunflowers. The set-up is nearly done, and evenings sitting and observing are now taking on that magical wonder, just as we knew it would.


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